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Circa 1906

Circa 1906

I was delighted, once, to come across a certain small detail of life from long ago—a pair of fawn-colored spats. I had no intention of reproducing the spats for sale; instead, we ran a drawing of them with copy entitled “Circa 1906,” to express something of what I felt the company stood for:

They are old. They are useless. But they are beautiful.

I bought them at a vintage clothing sale—not to sell, but as a reminder of how well stuff used to be made: pearl buttons 1/8″ thick, leather seams with 14 stitches per inch.

They also remind me of more recent things, which (amazingly) we’ve given up with hardly a murmur of protest.

Peaches worth eating and doctors who make housecalls. Real starch in shirt collars. Bakelite. Books sewn in signatures. Strike-anywhere matches. Soapbox orators. Car engines you can tune yourself. Meaningful S.A.T. scores. Luchöw’s, foghorns, taffeta dresses, and sparklers on 4th of July.

Isn’t it time to take some kind of stand here?

I’m saving all I can. I hope you are, too.

The artwork of those spats is lost to time. Does the rest of this have a fighting chance?

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